Hopes for 3rd iPad Mini Release Revived as Apple Taps Samsung for Bulk of Retina Display Supplies – Reports

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By Erik Pineda | March 19, 2014 3:57 PM EST

The countdown for the third iPad Mini release date is likely to begin shortly as Apple will reportedly source a big chunk of its Retina display panel requirements from an unlikely supplier - Samsung.

REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook speaks about the new iPad Air and the iPad mini with Retnia display during an Apple event in San Francisco, California October 22, 2013.

Reports from South Korea, where Samsung is headquartered, have indicated that the iPad maker is working anew with its chief rival in manufacturing future iPad Mini makes that boast of Retina-laced screens.

While the Apple Insider report pointed to the iPad Mini 2 as the core subject of the fresh Apple-Samsung deal, the Apple-focused tech site also underscored that the agreement is expected to take effect in the second half of 2014.

"The changes are expected to become effective in the second half of 2014," said the same report.

Apple Insider cited an ETNews report from South Korea as the source of its information.

Take note that the schedule somehow fits in with Apple's refresh cycle calendar for the current year

With Samsung's re-entry in Apple's iPad display supply chain, Apple has reportedly ended its partnership with Sharp Display and AU Optronics. The Galaxy maker will share responsibilities with LG Display in supplying the iPad Mini Retina-empowered screen, said the same Apple Insider report.

Recall that the new development runs in counter with an earlier forecast issued by KGI Securities analyst Ming-chi Kuo. Kuo is convinced that Apple's iPad thrust for 2014 will centre on the second iPad Air.

The analyst added that most likely, the iPad Mini will skip the third refresh this year while the 12.9-inch iPad Pro will be delayed. The absence of an iPad Mini 3 in 2014 is due to Apple's decision to focus on the bigger iOS tablet.

The iPad maker revamped the fifth iPad look and feel prior to its release in late 2013. The move, according to analysts, led to the larger but slimmed down iPad Air grabbing the global tablet limelight from the Mini.

Kuo's latest assessment somehow fuelled speculations that there will be no third iPad Mini coming from Apple this year but as the company allegedly sent out contradicting signals, the faint hope of a 2014 iPad Mini version appears to have been revived.

The seeming backpedal makes sense as better-equipped Android rivals of the Mini 2 have started coming out, many of them dwarfing over the Mini 2 specs and features.

For instance, Samsung's Galaxy Tab PRO 8.4 debuted this March and initial reviews called the tablet as far better than the Retina iPad Mini in almost every respects - from the former's screen attributes down to its more powerful components.

Also, it is likely too that Apple would want to replace the Mini 2 this year as its sales numbers fell short of expectations.

Going by the Apple-Samsung Retina deal, the iPad Mini 3 release date should happen in Q4 2014.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Robert Galbraith / )
Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook speaks about the new iPad Air and the iPad mini with Retnia display during an Apple event in San Francisco, California October 22, 2013.
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